My daughter has an obsession with doors. On a recent trip to California, she had me stop at every unique door she saw and take a picture. This one happened to be at Terra Valentine winery in Sonoma. The sign out front read, “Welcome”, but the size of the door was overpowering and took some effort to open.

Upon entering the inner court, my gaze immediately focused on the beauty of the surroundings. The stain glass artwork, the smell of the oak barrels, the gardens and amazing view of the mountain vineyards gave an overwhelming feeling of reverence. I felt like I was entering a winemaker’s holy of holies.  Our private tour was a privilege granted only to those who had favor with the owner.

From the hand-carved oak doors, cast-iron staircases, to the marbleized interior and oversized picture windows, no two views were alike. I was surrounded by century old vines that were grafted, cultivated and tended to produce an excellent harvest; a harvest worthy of distinction.

As my daughter and I stood before the doors of the vineyard, there was a foretaste that one day we will stand before the doors of heaven. We will either encounter a welcome sign granting permission to enter, or be directed to the outer court; the brazen altar.

The brazen altar is a place of purification; impurities are purged and our heart and soul are refined. We approach the altar with an acceptance of Jesus, but have not grafted and cultivated his word into the vines of our heart. We never produced a harvest worthy of His acceptance. We were lacking in our growth after being grafted to his likeness.

I have visited enough vineyards to know that maintaining healthy grapes is a challenge. The vines require care and maintenance in every season to support new growth, ensures quality fruit and a bountiful harvest.  Winemakers’ takes great care in purging impurities from the grapes and vines. Dead or damaged branches are regularly pruned and burned to promote vigorous shoots and eliminate any chance of decay or wild grapes.

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